Wednesday, 19 September 2012
ECU student Tenielle Fernando had previously only experienced America through the movies.
Her exchange at Bellarmine University has given her a taste of the American Southern hospitality that many of us only experience on the big screen.
“Honestly, I can't believe how friendly everyone is here,” Tenielle said.
“Southern hospitality is no myth. Everyone is super-welcoming and will go out of their way to help you.”
Tenielle, a Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Arts student, has already discovered some other unique qualities about American university life.
“School spirit is pretty crazy! Everyone gets really into college sports,” she said.
After starting classes in August, she committed to making the most of her experience in Louisville, which is located right in America’s heartland.
She joined the Creative Writing Club, Historical Society, International Club and the University Publishing Association.
“The facilities are great! Free gym, Internet and so on. Living in the dorms is also a lot of fun. Sharing with a roommate takes some getting used to, but it's the best way to meet people,” Tenielle said.
“There are common rooms on every floor, which are great places to hang out with everyone. There are pool tables, ping pong and multiple cafes in addition to the dining halls.”
The experience has opened her eyes to American culture, and she is also doing her best to challenge some of the stereotypes Americans might have of Australians.
“It seems that the most common thing people ask me about is Australian wildlife. Everyone seems to think that you can't walk out of your house without encountering a lethal spider, snake, crocodile or shark.”
“People are also thoroughly disappointed that I don't talk like Steve Irwin,” she added.
Tenielle encourages anyone thinking about going on exchange to take the steps to make it happen.
“There are so many scholarships and grants available, you'd be crazy not to. This has really opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities!” Tenielle said.
Tenielle is one of many ECU students receiving a financial subsidy from the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education International Student Exchange Program.
Students interested in going on exchange in Semester 2, 2013 can find updated information about available subsidies and how to apply here via the ECU International webpage.